Former Watergate prosecutor: Trump taking the fifth would be political suicide

Greg Nash

Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks said on Wednesday that it would be “political suicide” if President Trump invokes his Fifth Amendment rights.

“He cannot take the Fifth Amendment, that would be political suicide,” Wine-Banks, the former General Counsel for the U.S. Army, told MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes.”

Her comment comes after Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen announced that he would be pleading the Fifth in the lawsuit filed against him by adult-film star Stormy Daniels.


Daniels sued Cohen for defamation based on comments he made suggesting Daniels lied about an alleged affair with Trump.

“Michael Cohen can take the Fifth Amendment,” Wine-Banks said. “But the president of the United States cannot say, ‘I can’t answer questions because they might incriminate me in another matter.’ That just is not politically acceptable.”

Wine-Banks said she thinks it’s possible Trump might invoke his Fifth Amendment rights but argued it “would be complete chaos in the Congress if the president said, ‘I’m not answering questions because they would incriminate me.’”

She also said that Cohen taking the Fifth was inevitable but that he likely isn’t doing it because of Daniels.

Instead, Wine-banks asserts, “It’s probably related to business transactions that skirt the line.”

“There were probably payments that might be considered bribes, in connection with some of the housing that’s been built in New York and maybe even overseas,” Wine-Banks said.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump litigation Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution

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